Spectators have been left horrified by a brutal incident that knocked out a Russian ice hockey player before he even hit the ice.
Ruslan Iskhakov was playing for the University of Connecticut in a match against Quinnipiac when the terrifying scenes unfolded.
The 18-year-old was skating at full speed when he turned sharply and hurtled towards the centre of the ice.
However, the young Russian’s change of direction took him straight into the shoulder of an opposition defender, who was braced for the contact.
Iskhakov tried to avoid the bone-rattling collision but his last-second attempt proved in vain as his head clattered into his rival’s shoulder.
Replays of the incident suggested that Iskhakov was already knocked out before he suffered another vicious blow when his helmet smashed into the ice.
Onlookers were genuinely concerned for the player’s welfare as he was stretchered off the ice and taken to hospital.
Absolutely terrifying moment during the UConn-Quinnipiac game as 6-1 Brogan Rafferty hit 5-7 Ruslan Iskhakov (NYI 2nd rd pick) in open ice…out cold before he even hit the ice.
Good news: he was moving all extremities and talking as he was stretchered off.
— Julie Robenhymer (@JulieRobenhymer) October 17, 2018
This is the hit on Ruslan Iskhakov I tweeted about earlier. Scariest thing I've ever seen at a live hockey game. pic.twitter.com/B1xDah05Ns
— Life-long Rams Fan Dan Why-Ner (@DanWeiner) October 17, 2018
official update on @UConnMHOC forward Ruslan Iskhakov and it's good news. When I left last night I had heard that he was moving and talking–obviously much better today with his release/back on campus. Was a scary moment from last night. https://t.co/dM4SXr9QVT
— Phil Giubileo (@philgpbp) October 17, 2018
Iskhakov’s college, UConn, provided an update on the teenager’s condition afterwards.
“Ruslan Iskhakov was transported to the hospital from the arena during last night’s game at Quinnipiac for precautionary reasons,” said the school’s statement released to a UConn blog.
“All tests were normal and he was released from the hospital. He is currently back on campus in Storrs and is doing well. He will be evaluated on a game-by-game basis with no timetable set for a return.”
The youngster – who decided to stay and finish college after being drafted by the New York Islanders – is regarded as a hot future prospect in the NHL.